Thursday, July 21, 2016

Security

With all of the uncertainty in the world..........murders, killings,  wrecks, cancer, deaths, etc...........and POLITICS....we won't EVEN go there.........

The ONLY security we have is our relationship with Christ.  How can people of the world handle it without HIM being beside them?  It amazes me................it seems as if people all around us have gotten where the strength is...........

Also....how can people face issues without their church family?  So many of even our members, come to church Sunday morning and you never see them again until the next Sunday morning......if they are not busy that day.  

I do not think I could stand it....IF....
  1.  I did not have a close, active relationship with. Jesus 
  2. I did not have a close relationship with my husband, kids and family..........and
  3. I did not have my church family to lean on and love me unconditionally.
I find my security in Christ first.........my family second and my church third.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Accomplishing God's Mission

A couple of months ago I share with you about the GiveHim Tennessee Project that God has laid on our hearts............getting out of the four walls and reaching the lost in the community.

I am happy to report that through the Tent Revival, VBS, and a couple of out reach activities in the community, 11 souls were won to the Lord in three weeks.................and many, many seeds were planted.

This past Sunday night.....we rented the Community Center and Pool, near the projects and grilled hamburgers and hot dogs and invited the community to eat, swim and worship with us.

What a joy to see a good group of folks enjoying time together, reaching out and worshiping....without an air conditioner and padded pews.




When we trust God and step out of those four comfortable walls and go out and find the people............we are rewarded by seeing the results of God's mission being accomplished.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Feeling of Accomplishment



This is one of my favorite times of the year..... I LOVE gathering the garden and storing away for the winter.  Squash relish and canned tomatoes...............I LOVE the "POP" sound when the jar seals.  ACCOMPLISHED!!!


AND....fresh frozen corn.  YUM-YUM.  I cut it off the cob and also freeze whole corn and we enjoy it throughout the year.



We always look forward to fresh blueberries.  We love them fresh off the vine....and also frozen.  Nothing like opening the freezer and getting a hand full of yummy frozen blueberries.  I also decided to can some blueberry pie filling this year and we have one small cherry tree so I canned those too.

Also....ever since Dana James posted her DELICIOUS Fresh Blueberry Pound cake recipe last year, we have enjoyed at least one or two per season.


 THEN....while cutting off the corn to freeze.....I take the ripest fresh tomatoes, add the corn, add other desired veggies..............and can veggie soup.  We like to open it and heat and eat just like it is..............but sometimes I open a couple of cans and add some more veggies and sometimes even chicken or beef and we have a quick yummy soup.  Since there are just two of us at home now, it is hard for us to eat an entire pot of soup by ourselves at one time.

Our beans are not quite ready............soon I will be canning beans.

Some people ask me why I bother.  Others say....its too expensive and too much trouble.

I do it because we LOVE the home canned food..............and I LOVE the feeling of ACCOMPLISHMENT.

In this busy, hectic world...........we ALL need to find something that we can enjoy doing; any hobby................and once we are finished, experience the ACCOMPLISHED feeling................
BECAUSE, let's face it ladies............church work is hard and many times, although the seeds are being planted, we do not get to experience the feeling of "accomplishment" nor do we get to see the results.

What do you do that makes you feel ACCOMPLISHED?

Friday, July 15, 2016

Remember Who You Are

This week as I've written, I have tried to be very transparent, letting you see what God's been speaking to my heart about...

"Busy-ness"
Relationship
Noise

Dear Sister, please do not let "busy-ness" and noise rob you of even an ounce of your relationship with our Jesus.

I have.

As a result, recently, I have forgotten who I am.

I wear MANY identities:

Wally's wife
Riley's, Piper's and Eliza's mom
Brenda's daughter
Steve's daughter
Preschool director
Sunday School teacher
Aunt
Cousin
Sister
Niece
Friend
Minister's wife.....

Each identity has it's own responsibilities and expectations, both self-imposed and given by others.

But at the end of the day (or maybe at the beginning of it), no matter who you have impressed or let down, remember who you are.

As a believer, you are an adopted daughter of your Creator God.

You are twice His, made specifically by Him AND then picked by Him to be  (not a slave or servant), His daughter.

You are an heir WITH Christ. He is your brother and you are His sister, positioned and poised to share in His inheritance.

When He adopted you, He knew the challenge you would be. He knew your deformities and defects.

So when the world, Satan, or that one deacon's wife points out your shortcomings or makes you feel inadequate, remember who you are.

You are His and He is yours.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

All The Noise

Often, when I am home and the two year-old is napping, the house will seem awfully quiet. So, I flip the television on and choose between HGTV and The Food Network to serve as background noise while I fold the clothes, unload the dishwasher and sweep the hardwoods.

Facebook, Instagram and various other apps, become my entertainment as a sit in car circle waiting on the teen to emerge from the middle school or the middle child to be-bop down the stairs outside her elementary school.

Even before my feet hit the floor in the morning, I have thumbed through the headlines on my phone from both Fox News and the local NBC affiliate, just so I will know what is going on the world.

The headlines from around the globe assail me. The pictures and video clips of friends and strangers beg for my approval. Advertisers compete for even 15 seconds of my attention.

Lately, as I was putting gas into the minivan the familiar voices of a couple of celebrities greeted me from the pump. The pharmacy line in my local WalMart has a similar screen with rolling ads of new products and sale specials.

Most of the time any more, noise can't be avoided and its assault bombards me from all directions. But I am no longer offended by noise. I have slowly and very surely become so immune to its negativity, it is the stillness and quiet I long to avoid.

With advances in technology and the ever-present hum of the media, silence has become almost deafening when I can manage to find it. It can be overwhelming and even oppressive to me when I am accustomed to something always being on.

Why?

Because the quiet is where God most often speaks to me and in my sinfulness, I long to hide from Him just as Adam and Eve attempted.

It is in the stillness His small voice speaks truth and the Holy Spirit moves. I am confronted with my sins of both commission and omission.

The silence is also where I find His peace and am reminded of His promises. The Holy Spirit speaks words of truth and of hope, but in my gradual acceptance of the noise of my modern life I didn't even realize I was missing the very thing I need to combat the messages and negativity of all that noise.

I know the noise is not sinful in itself, but it brings time and again to the precipice of temptation - jealousy, worry, envy, pride, judgement, hopelessness, self-righteousness.

God has not YET brought me to the place I deactivate my Facebook and Instagram accounts, but I have been most definitely convicted about the amount of media I take in - especially without much time to "be still and know" to counter it.

My prayer lately has been that I would crave the quiet and intentionally seek out stillness, so I might hear from Him more clearly and to find the rest I need in His presence.

I decided to write about the noise to try to shout above it in some small way. Have you become so tolerant of the all the noise that you don't even hear it anymore? Are you aware of how it is affecting you? What it is costing you?

How do you fight back against all the noise?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Relationship

Relationships require work.

Intimate, deep relationships don't develop overnight. They are forged through time and  fires of adversity.

When a relationship is a priority, it won't always be convenient and will take precedent over other important things.

When a true friend calls, I don't let it go to voicemail. I pick up the phone. I listen. I share.

When there is a need, plans aren't just discussed. Obligations and responsibilities are rearranged and postponed. My agenda takes a backseat and my focus is purposefully realigned.

God has blessed me with friends, true friends with whom I have this kind of bond - where time and distance do not diminish our true sisterhood because we still periodically stop and reconnect.

Recently, the Holy Spirit prompted me to reconnect with another relationship that in my "busy-ness" I had not even realized that I had neglected.

Since I was a teen, I would proudly state that my faith wasn't a religion, that I had a "relationship" with my God. But lately, my relationship with Him had become pretty one-sided.

I was using Him. I would squeeze in a few moments here and there for a quick look-see in His word and I would check off my worship attendance, trying to convince myself that I had spent time with Him. I tacked Him onto my routines and schedule, but I rarely made true time for Him. And, if He was trying to speak into my life, I was too busy with my own agenda that I could not hear Him.

If I treated any of my relationships, including the one with my husband, the way I was treating my relationship with God, I would be pretty lonely and my marriage would be in deep trouble. I would never dare be so self-centered to expect any of them to only respond when it "worked" for me.

Yet, a true relationship with God is an amazing and unique thing. In addition to Him being Creator and King of kings, He is intimately involved in the details of my life. While I was still a sinner and knowing how I would neglect our relationship, He still DIED on my behalf.

Yet, here I was trying to regulate Him to my timeframe and my prefered means of communication. Ouch.

So this summer, when, by His graciousness, the "busy-ness" has subsided, He has gently reminded me that this sanctification process is accomplished through a two-way relationship. No, I haven't upheld my end of successful relationship, but He hasn't neglected His. (I can relate to those rebellious Israelites all too well.)

He is wanting to connect with me on a deeper level. He is communicating old truths in new ways. He is calling me to pursue Him as priority, not a part, of my daily living- coming and going, inhaling and exhaling.

Please don't  think I've got this all figured out. I don't. For the first time in a long time, I am seeing Him with fresh eyes. He has humbled me, but He has not broken me. I am thankful for both.

My relationship with Him looks and feels different than it ever has before. It's a little scary and even overwhelming, but I trust Him, or at least I am trying to.

I cannot continue to approach my relationship with Christ with anything less than I would any other significant relationship in my life.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Forgetting What I Should Remember and Remembering What I Should Forget!


I am wearing a hospital-type bracelet to remind me to pray for our students who are at camp this week.  Each time I feel it, look at it, or adjust it, I am reminded to pray.  And pray I have!!  Lots of adjusting and looking and feeling…therefore, lots of praying!  I must remember to pray for them!

 

 
 



Driving to church Wednesday I put the ring from my right hand on to my left hand ring finger to remind me to tell something to a lady at Bible study.  I have used this method to remind me to do something for decades….and it works!!  Disclaimer—only use this method if what you need to remember to do/say is right away.  It is quite annoying to have all of those rings on the same finger long term!

 
I have pictures of missionaries on our refrigerator to remind us to pray for them as they serve.
 


I put items to be returned or taken to someone/someplace on the kitchen counter—in plain sight—to remember to take them to who they go to.  Dishes to be returned, gifts to take, letters to be mailed, etc.

 

I write lists in the Reminders app on my iPhone or iPad (and low and behold—if I put something in one, it will appear in the other!!  Gotta love technology!!) as well as take advantage of the Notes app.  This is awesome because I always have the list with me and can refer to it any time, anywhere and remember what I need to do.

 

What ‘trick of the trade’ do you use to remind yourself to do something?  I am totally open to new and better ideas of ways to remember!!

God is all about reminders.  In fact, in Numbers 15:37-41 (Look it up!  Read it!  It is awesome!!)  He tells the people of Israel to attach blue tassels to the hem of their garments as a reminder to obey all of the commands of the Lord!!!  He says to do this to remember to be holy instead of following our own desires!!!

Crazy isn’t it that God knows we need reminders!!!  Go grab a blue tassel!!  They are readily available at sewing centers everywhere!!  I know this because I have gotten lots of blue tassels!!!  I desperately want to remember and obey all the commands of the Lord instead of following my desires!!  I desperately need to remember that He is the Lord my God and that He has brought me out of bondage!!!

Now….here’s the frustrating thing

I put the bracelet on Sunday morning after church.  Yesterday I was shocked that I didn’t feel it so much anymore or adjust it or see it.  It has become part of the proverbial ‘landscape’ and it has become the ‘new normal’.  For the first time in four days the bracelet did not prompt me to pray!!!  I saw, I felt, I adjusted and I carried on….I forgot!  For a few seconds that is!!  When I realized what happened….I prayed!

By the time I got to church with the ring on my other finger I had forgotten why I put the ring on my other finger!

Many times the items that I put on the kitchen counter to take somewhere sit there for so long that they, too, become part of the ‘landscape’ and I no longer see them and I forget and they don’t get where they are supposed to get.  Same with the missionary pictures!!  Their pictures blend in with life and I forget to pray for them!!

The lists in my Reminders app and my Notes app often never get referred to because I forget that I even made the list!!

Sadly, I also forget He is Lord.  I forget He has brought me out of bondage.  The blue tassel has become familiar landscape and I must refocus and re-remember.

Way too often I forget what I must remember (things like He loves me, His power is perfected in my weakness, that as believers we are to impact our culture, that He does not care about the color of skin, that the church must express and live love, etc.) and I remember what I must forget (things like what mean people have done, every mistake so-and-so has ever made, what is behind, etc)!! 
 
Powerful words.  Powerful truth.  Father, help us to remember what we must remember and to forget what we must forget!!